Project Management Institute

Game Plan

Gamification Can Propel Digital Transformation Projects


Gamification can propel digital transformation projects.

By Priya Patra, PMP

Everyone likes games. That’s why gamification has taken off this decade, and it’s why gamifying projects can spark stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Last year my team saw the value of the approach up close on a yearlong digital transformation initiative.

The program was sponsored by a manufacturer digitizing the life cycle tracking of its healthcare equipment. My team handled a project with two phases: develop a software application to capture equipment status data from healthcare provider facilities around the world, and then train both end users and the manufacturer’s support center staff on the application.


Soon after kickoff, I realized the project’s success hinged on stakeholder engagement, rather than technology. The application had to address pain points identified by equipment end users so issues could be resolved faster. And implementation would require motivating employees to take time out of their busy days to complete training programs—always challenging.

So my team decided to gamify the project’s discovery phase to better engage stakeholders from the beginning. We invited not only the manufacturer’s employees but also equipment end users and service providers to suggest ideas for improving equipment life cycle management processes. My team logged the ideas, and after vetting them for their technical feasibility and business value, pitted ideas against each other through online voting. One tangible outcome was the creation of additional “self-service” options for equipment end users to report problems—i.e., via text message, website and mobile app.

This gamified ideation process got stakeholders invested in a shared vision of the company’s digital future—engaged and ready to help make that vision a reality once application training started. To further that engagement, we gamified the online training programs, too. A trainee could earn points and badges for completing training missions, posting and answering questions related to the new tracking application, and liking content. (High scorers could redeem their badges for free maintenance service.) We also set up a leaderboard to drive healthy competition and created daily quizzes to drive knowledge retention.


Within six weeks of launching the gamified discovery phase, discussion by manufacturer employees and equipment end users shot up 75 percent through an online communication platform. Within two weeks of the start of the training phase, all 1,000 call center employees had completed “Getting Started” training missions—200 more than expected. Since the new digitized system went live, customer satisfaction and issue resolution rates have improved every month. Average call times dropped from six minutes to one minute.

The ultimate takeaway was that gamification can help define what a future digital state should look like—and propel the transformation process. PM

img Priya Patra, PMP, is a regular contributor to and a program manager in the IT sector who lives in Mumbai, India.
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